Hesperia's 20th anniversary party will also serve as a welcome home party for Hesperians who have been overseas, serving in the military.

"Men and women who serve our country, when they come back, they need to be recognized," said Hesperia City Councilman Thurston "Smitty" Smith. Smith's father served during World War II and in the Korean War, and two of his brothers served in the Army. "I said for the 20th birthday, maybe we could do something. Gosh ... they've done a great job."

The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, elected officials and others will all participate in a military recognition ceremony Saturday afternoon at Hesperia Civic Park. The list of Hesperians serving in the military on the city's Web site lists more than 150 soldiers, Marines, airmen and others.

There will also be a special ceremony recognizing the sacrifice of Hesperians who were killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq: Army Spc. Armando Hernandez, Marine Lance Cpl. William Wiscowiche and Army Sgt. James Healy. A tree has been planted at the Civic Park amphitheater for each of the fallen soldiers.

"We've had plaques made that have an eagle on them, an eagle head, and then their name," said City Clerk Vicki Soderquist, who organized the ceremony.

There will be a 21-gun salute for all of the service members, followed by a release of 21 doves.

"I'm hoping it's a big community event," Smith said. "I tell people all the time that we wouldn't be able to do what we do here now if not for those people in the past and what they've done for us."

"My son having served in Iraq, twice, I've looked at all of this from the mother's perspective: Is it reverent? Is it appropriate? Would the military approve of it?" Soderquist said. "I'm so excited. It just makes me kind of teary."

The military recognition ceremony begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 28.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.